When I talked to Mr. Livingston on Tuesday morning, I suggested that today’s edition of Outside the Asylum could be a stream-of-consciousness look at the State of the Union address and its attendant hoopla. “Sort of a ‘Twitter feed with verbs‘ thing;” I offered. Bob was thrilled with the concept. (Well, he didn’t specifically say “no.”) When I looked at my first draft, it was longer than a Democrat mayor’s rap sheet. Bob did say he wanted it to be shorter than, say, the State of the Union.
The State of the Union took 62 minutes. This should only take you about three minutes (I checked):
6:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: I’m settling in for the annual Presidential Dog and Pony show. I have a big cup of water and some cookies. Given the entertainment value of past States of the Union, I’d probably be better off with a fifth of Scotland’s finest and a brick to throw at the TV. However, this effort needs to be marginally coherent, and the Super Bowl is coming up; so — no scotch, no brick.
7:01: MSNBC. Chris “Tingle-boy” Matthews is calling Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) stupid. He’s totally non-partisan, of course. He’s got White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs on. Gibbs is smirking while Matthews rants about Bachmann.
7:10: Switching to Fox. Carl Cameron is talking to Shepherd Smith about bipartisan seating. MSNBC. Matthews still hates Bachmann. Fox. The Moscow airport bombing. MSNBC. Matthews STILL hates Bachmann. Why do his ratings suck?
7:16: MSNBC. Representative Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) wants to talk about the SOTU. Matthews still wants to talk about how much he hates Bachmann. Israel looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Awkward.
7:22: Matthews is talking education with Pat Buchanan. Wait for it… wait for it… Matthews says Bachmann is stupid. Where’s that brick?
7:31: John King on CNN. King just asked David Gergen about the impact of Twitter. Gergen looks perplexed. I’ll bet his Betamax still flashes 12:00.
7:42: Quick MSNBC check. Matthews still hates Bachmann. He’s got some harpy on with him who — shocker — also hates Bachmann. *sigh*
8:00: Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC. President Barack Obama and black actors have it tough in this racist country, according to Larry. It’s rich white people decrying the plight of rich black people. Is it me, or does Larry look a lot like the Sony PlayStation® 3 guy?
8:32: MSNBC emptied the clown car: O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Matthews and Ed Schultz. Schultz just blamed the I-35 bridge collapse on the Republicans. Michele Bachmann is from Minnesota. Where was she that day?
8:50: Fox. The Senate is filling the chamber. I’m calling for a moratorium on “prom date” references to this bipartisan seating plan.
8:59: The Supreme Court and the Cabinet are filing in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looks uncomfortable; but I can’t tell if that’s because he’s about eight inches shorter than Attorney General Eric Holder, or if he’s thinking about this year’s 1040.
9:03: Hello, Mr. President.
The State of the Union:
- Obama congratulates House Speaker John Boehner. Where’s Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?
- Obama wants a return to civility. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) must be hiding under his chair.
- Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is sitting with Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.). Chambliss has the patience of Job. Either that, or all the hot Senators were taken.
- Obama just cited the stock market as proof of an economic recovery in progress. What happened to Democrats saying “that’s Wall Street, not Main Street?”
- Now, Obama is proud of the tax cuts he opposed. The “hostages” have been freed, folks.
- Obama laments that China and India are ahead in science and math education. Yeah, but OUR kids are way better at putting on condoms — USA, BABY!
- Obama cites the Internet revolution. Vice President Joe Biden, sitting right behind Obama, looks confused. I think Boehner just whispered: “In-ter-net. I’ll tell you after.”
- The “Sputnik moment.” Obama calls for investment in… he didn’t say, exactly. “Technology.” Uh-oh. His big rhetorical bomb, and he cites a 54-year-old achievement by a country that doesn’t exist anymore. Brilliant.
- Obama points out the Allen brothers. They’re roofers who got a government loan to make solar shingles. Obama doesn’t mention that we’d have to pave the Midwest in solar panels to light up Chicago.
- 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. And 1 million doorstops by 2016.
- Obama wants to pull subsidies from oil companies and give them to… the Allen brothers? He took the same shot at the oil industry last year and a Democrat-run Congress did nothing. Take THAT, stupid proven technology!
- By 2035, Obama wants 80 percent of America’s energy to come from clean energy sources. The Allen brothers look ecstatic!
- Switching gears to education. Obama wants 100,000 new science and math teachers. I’m thinking, we don’t have that many now.
- Did he just say “We’ll show you the money?” Yes, he did.
- Children of “undocumented workers” deserve to stay. The President of the United States just endorsed amnesty for anchor babies.
- Transportation and infrastructure. Oh, joy; more “high-speed rail” babble. So now, instead of driving to Atlanta in four hours, I can… let someone else drive me to Atlanta in… four hours. But there is no functional high-speed rail here. Crap. I hate driving to Atlanta.
- He’s calling for a Works Project Administration-sized public works project; all without laying out how we’ll fund it. How do you spell “Boondoggle?”
- “A patient…can have a face-to-face video conference with their doctor.” Under Obamacare, it might be with someone whose first name is “Doctor.”
- He just compared Representative Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) $2.5 trillion cuts plan to making an airplane lighter by removing the engine. Plane crash jokes? Who wrote that, Franken?
- Obama says, “screw the millionaires.” Those jerks, they’re only paying 40 percent of the tax bill.
- Cutting duplication and waste. This was supposed to be Al Gore’s job during the Clinton years. Al was too busy inventing the Internet, or global warming.
- He’s going to veto every bill with earmarks. That’s a win — presuming he’s not lying.
- “The Iraq war is coming to an end.” Still.
- “We’re going to deny al-Qaida the stronghold which served as the launching pad for 9/11.” Saudi Arabia just peed in its dishdasha.
- “We stand with the people of Tunisia.” Half the chamber is on their handhelds, trying to figure out where the hell Tunisia is.
- “No American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’m all right with this, although I know I’m going to get flamed for it in the comments section.
Charles Krauthammer said he thought the speech was “flat.” It was more — and less — than that. It was hollow, contrived and often self-contradictory. Obama said “We do big things.” And we will again in 2012, Mr. President.